My latest Media Consortium health news roundup.
A former "intern" of Joe Biden's has stepped into a lucrative lobbying gig in the financial sector, Ken Silverstein recently reported. Today, the New York Times belatedly took interest.
Another union-busting ruling...
A New York court has ruled that drumming does not constitute a legitimate weapon of self-help for trade unionists:
ALBANY, N.Y. - A divided New York Court of Appeals ruled Monday that union members drumming outside the Empire State
Building in efforts to organize the building's security guards are not protected by federal labor law and are subject to nuisance complaints.
In a 4-2 decision, the court ruled that the unionists could hand out leaflets, which the National Labor Relations Board concluded was their federally protected right, but that doesn't automatically include drumming on a plastic container, metal pot or tin can.
"It cannot be said that Congress ... intended to pre-empt states from protecting its citizens from obnoxious conduct," Judge Eugene Pigott Jr. wrote for the majority. "The drumming in this instance does not constitute an 'economic weapon' or 'self-help' remedy akin to, for example, the employee walkout ... or a lockout by an employer." [AP]
Where does this leave the Strike Rat?
Update: The Franken camp has increased its challenge rate to keep pace with the Coleman crew, according to Nate's latest numbers (click through to 538 for latest graph).
Coleman now leads by only 172 votes, a net gain of 43 votes for Franken since the recount began.
AlterNet published my interview with documentary photographer Nina Berman about her new book Homeland, a visual chronicle of the national security state in America from 2001-2007.
A Spanish city has installed solar panels on the roofs of some of the multi-story mausoleums in the town cemetery. The panels capture enough energy every year to power 60 households:
A Spanish city has found an unusual place to generate renewable energy - the local cemetery.
Santa Coloma de Gramanet, near Barcelona, has placed 462 solar panels over its multi-storey mausoleums.
Officials say the scheme was initially greeted with derision, but families who use the cemetery eventually supported the idea following a public campaign. [BBC]
The cemetery was chosen because it is one of the few open, sunny places in the crowded city.
The public was skeptical at first, but city officials manage to reassure them that the panels would be unobtrusive to visitors at ground-level. The program has been such a success that officials plan to install additional panels.
I'm disappointed to read that Barack Obama might let a Bush tax cut for the wealthy expire in 2011, instead of repealing it sooner:
WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama has signaled that he will pursue a far more ambitious plan of spending and tax cuts than anything he outlined on the campaign trail — a plan "big enough to deal with the huge problem we face,” a top adviser said Sunday — setting the tone for a recovery effort that could absorb and define much of his term.
A member of the Obama economic advisory team, William M. Daley, acknowledged that because of the gravity of the situation, Mr. Obama was leaning toward letting a Bush tax cut for the wealthy expire on schedule in 2011 rather than repealing it sooner. [NYT]
The wealthiest taxpayers should start paying their share of the bailout and the promised economic stimulus package immediately.